Arsenal want to tie centre-back William Saliba down to a long-term contract at the Emirates after he impressed in their opening day victory over Crystal Palace, according to Paul Brown of the Daily Star.
Mikel Arteta has overseen a busy summer in north London but it was a player returning from a loan spell in Ligue 1 that received plenty of praise on Friday night.
What is the latest on Saliba?
The France international was thrown into the starting XI by Arteta for the trip to Selhurst Park last week and repaid his manager’s faith with an excellent performance.
A Gabriel Martinelli header and a Marc Guehi own goal proved enough to earn a 2-0 win for the Gunners and get them off to an ideal start.
It was Saliba’s first appearance for Arsenal despite signing for the club back in 2019 for £27 million from Saint-Etienne. He has spent three successive spells on loan in Ligue 1 and last term with Marseille saw him reach a new level.
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand piled praise on Saliba for his role in the victory in the days that followed the win over Palace.
“I don’t know if he needed it [his loan at Marseille], but I think what happened when he went away, it humbled him,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel. “He came to Arsenal and you expect to play.
“He was talked about being that good but then they said no, go away, get some experience. He was Young Player of the Season in Ligue 1, last season, and was phenomenal in that sense, comes back and said ‘Nah, I’m not going to right-back, Ben White get to right-back, I’m going to play centre-half.'”
What has Brown said on Saliba?
Brown understands that the powers that be at Arsenal are eager to tie the 21-year-old down to a new deal to ensure his future lies at the Emirates.
The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: “To put him at centre-back and move Ben White to right back was quite a big vote of confidence so I think we can assume that Arsenal do see a big future for Saliba and they would like him to sign a long-term contract.”
Should this be a priority for Arsenal?
Saliba has undoubtedly grown to become one of the most exciting defensive talents in Europe. Last season saw him play a total of 52 games for Marseille, showing just how trusted he was in Jorge Sampaoli’s set-up.
His current deal at the Emirates is set to expire in the summer of 2024 so it makes perfect sense for Arsenal to get a jump on negotiations as soon as possible.
But Saliba likely holds the bargaining power now. He will want Arteta to keep him in that starting role moving forward before putting pen to paper on a new deal.